Tech News Roundup | Gamescom 2014 Special

From the depths of its Vision grave, Tech News Roundup returns! And, like all good comeback stories, it packs quite a punch. Or, at least we hope it does, we like to think a Gamescom special can be considered a ‘punch’.

For that, we’re dividing this segment into the event’s three press conferences; Sony, Microsoft and EA, and giving you the high and/or lowlights of each. Now, without further ado, the Tech News Roundup this week:

Sony

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Shadow of Mordor story trailer: From looking at the Lord of the Rings games that have been released under Warner Bros., it’s safe to say that one does not simply make a good Lord of the Rings game. However, from watching Shadow of Mordor‘s new story trailer, it seems that we can put the above comment in our pipe, and smoke it.

Hideo Kojima: Ahhh, Kojima. Not only did you show the world a wonderfully ridiculous gameplay demo of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (which included horse poop and parachuting goats, by the way), you made us wet ourselves at the prospect of a) a new Silent Hill game directed by you, Guillermo del Toro and starring Darryl from The Walking Dead b) both Metal Gear Solid V games coming to Steam. Thank you for existing.

Until Dawn: More often than not in the games industry, horror games take themselves far too seriously. So seriously that, in some cases, they’re not even horror games,*cough cough* Resident Evil 6 *cough cough*. But now, Sony wants to prove that horror games can be as cheesy as, well… cheese? Until Dawn not only looks scary, but it feels darn right cheesy, too. A win-win.

Indie Games: Sure, Sony’s press conference showcased some big titles, but it also gave a high-five to the little guys out there. No, no, not Peter Dinklage (although he is in Destiny, which was at Gamescom, that deserves a high five), indie games. Whether it was the presentation of Volume, or the re-release of DayZ and Journey on PS4, the little guy didn’t go underappreciated this year.

These were our personal standouts at Sony’s conference, which arguably stole the show this year. If you want to be all big and independent and decide for yourself, here’s their event in full:

Microsoft

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Rise of the Tomb Raider Xbox One exclusive: Did you like the heavily-scripted, linear murder-fest that was Tomb Raider 2013? Neither did we, but it looks like we’re getting a sequel anyway in the form of Rise of the Tomb Raider in fall 2015. And to top things off, you lucky (?) Xbox One owners will be getting it exclusively, at least for the time being.

Xbox One bundles: Microsoft announced two new bundles (well, three, but the third isn’t even that snazzy to mention) for the Xbox One. The first bundle will contain a white version with developer Insomniac’s new wacky, post-apocalyptic shooter, Sunset Overdrive, and will hit store shelves for 400 wing wangs on October 28th (without Kinect). The second, arguably more interesting bundle, will feature a one terabyte Xbox One console with a Call of Duty Advanced Warfare finish and, of course, the game itself. Hoorah.

I can see your Halo: It isn’t a Microsoft conference without their good buddy Halo showing up, and boy did it show up. Not only did they showcase The Halo Channel, which allows you to swap between Halo ‘games and experiences’, but the fifth, highly-anticipated installment in the Halo franchise is entering Beta on the 29th of December and will (surprise, surprise) be an Xbox One exclusive. Too bad, PS4 owners, maybe next generation.

Evolve Xbox One beta: From the team behind the beloved Left 4 Dead series comes Evolve, an interesting looking title which tasks four player with taking down an alien beast controlled by a mischievous fifth player. The Beta is launching ahead of schedule for Xbox One in January 2015 and will probably prove to be a faster way to ruin friendships than FIFA.

Not a bad Gamescom from Microsoft. Hopefully Sony’s compelling value proposition with its new console has awakened the beast within Microsoft. Hurray for competition!

EA

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Shadow Realms: With one of us having recently completed the Mass Effect trilogy, any new games from developer BioWare are a welcome sight indeed. Considering they showcased one at Gamescom, a 4v1 online, action-RPG called Shadow Realms, that Bioware high that Adrian (oops) is currently on may continue.

The Sims 4: EA certainly had fun presenting The Sims 4 at Gamescom this year, presenting some of the game’s new functions, features and their custom-made Angela Merkel Sim in their gameplay demo. It won’t grab our attention too much, considering we downloaded The Sims 2: Ultimate Edition for free last week, but so too is the ‘Create a Sim’ for The Sims 4 – we have a fight on our hands.

Battlefield Hardline game modes: After announcing the delay of Battlefield Hardline, EA has thrown a bone to Battlefield enthusiasts with the reveal of two surprisingly interesting game modes; Hotwire, and Rescue. Hotwire will feature high-speed chases across large environments, while Rescue is essentially a 5v5 ‘capture the flag’ style game mode with a moving flag (a hostage). After our scathing review of the Battlefield Hardline closed beta, it’s nice to see innovation in the gameplay department, and not just graphical improvements.

Fifa 15: The new title in the football franchise, Fifa 15, is being slated for release on September 25th in Europe. Incredible new innovations include, improved animations, improved graphics, improved physics and other stuff they’ve been improving for the past 10 years. Considering our overuse of the word ‘improved’, that can only be good news.

EA’s conference was promising, though slightly run-of-the-mill (with the exception of Shadow Realms). We were glad to see the mention of how much they valued their players after the disaster that was Battlefield 4. Running a successful company seems to hinge on making the consumer base happy. Who knew?

And there we have it, the lowdown on all things Gamescom this year. Oh, and if our knowledge of comeback stories is up to scratch, then expect a mighty-fine sequel to this issue of Tech News Roundup. Who knows? We might even get Sylvester Stallone to shout ‘ADRIAAAAAAANN’… fingers crossed.

Adrian Horan
Adrian was previously a freelance writer for Vision before he went on to become News Editor for two editions. He recently retired from York Vision, having written as Tech Editor for three editions.